Monday, May 30, 2011

A Tale of Six Caterpillars!

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Remember Paprika's Painted Lady Butterfly that she brought home from school? The one with broken wings who couldn't fly? Well, that little butterfly ended up living for seven weeks in our house...with two broken wings and three (instead of four) legs! The life expectancy on those butterflies is 2-4 weeks, so 7 weeks is just more than I ever expected. It must have been all that apple juice we fed it! Ha!

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When he did pass away, I just couldn't bring myself to tell Paprika. We told her that he got out and flew away to live with his brothers and sisters. I know that you cannot shield kids from all hard things, but I guess I feel that when you can shield them, it's probably for the best.

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Anyhoo, I set about looking for Monarch caterpillars. Monarch butterflies are so big and beautiful, and majestic. They are just amazing creatures! I decided to buy some milkweed plants and see if the caterpillars would come to us!

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After about two weeks, I had just about killed the milkweed plants. They were in our backyard and I forgot to water them...and I figured that was that. I brought them inside to nurse them back to health. I started giving the plants water and Miracle Grow, and they bounced back.

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Well, a few days ago, I was in our kitchen looking at the plants up on the windowsill, and noticed six giant Monarch caterpillars chomping on our milkweed plants!

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I guess a Monarch butterfly dropped the eggs on the plants when they were outside, and I brought the plants inside without ever knowing those eggs were there and about to hatch!

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Needless to say, Paprika and Ginger have been so excited to watch their caterpillars grow. We are probably going to build a butterfly house so that once they hatch, we don't have butterflies flying around our house.

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Hopefully all of these caterpillars become healthy Monarch butterflies, and we can let them go. Although I did love having our injured Painted Lady for seven weeks, it is always better if you can let them go and be free!

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Over the past few days, each caterpillar changed into a chyrsallis. We got to watch the transformations, and it was amazing.

We made a little time-lapse movie of our last caterpillar becoming a chrysallis- it is about 2 minutes long, and definitely worth watching (if I do say so, myself-ha!) I keep watching it over and over again because I just can't get over the miracle...and then to think that in 10 days or so a butterfly will emerge. I am hoping we can get that on camera, as well! Wouldn't the be awesome to witness?

Here is the video we made:



I hope your Memorial Day Weekend has been good! I always feel really weird saying "Happy Memorial Day" because it is such a sad day, really...but I am glad for the way everyone gets together and rejoices in life and remembers the lives lost. That is a good thing and definitely worth celebrating!

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7 comments:

Ann said...

I am in awe and almost don't know what to type. You are an amazing mama for sure...incredible memories these girls are going to have! Maybe you will even inspire one of them to have a career as an entomologist! As usual your photos are beautiful and make me feel like I am right there with you...in a way I am! (hugs) Happy Memorial Day to you...as I believe it is beter to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all...(extra loooooong hug).

Susanne said...

That video is so cool. Thanks for sharing.

THAT'S Interesting said...

Hey! The pictures you took of the caterpillars are awesome! I also really like the new blog background you got going on! Ever thought of maybe writing a little blurb about each of the girls with a pic of them to stick on the side, too? Hope you're feeling better with baby.

Emily

Ty said...

Wow. This looks fun, Erika. I specially love the video!

siri said...

I'm having "twin peaks" flashbacks LOL

FourJedis said...

Great video. What a cool thing to capture on film - how long does that whole process take? I love all the cool stuff you do with your girls. They are so lucky!

Lost in Space said...

Wow. That is amazing!